There is no denying personal bias exists in all of us. As a reviewer it’s hard to convince readers that you’ve assessed something solely on its merits and demerits without letting personal preferences cloud your judgment. Reviewing Marvel Studios latest, “Captain America: Civil War”, puts me in a precarious situation.
Partly that has to do with my confession of being more-so a DC fanboy than a Marvel one. Falling in love with the world of superheroes when, as a child, I caught Richard Donner’s “Superman: The Movie” I grew up exploring the DC universe through comics. Occasionally I’d pick-up a Marvel title but it was mostly DC, followed by Image Comics when Spawn was a rage during my mid-teens and finally WildStorm when Jim Lee’s caught my eye.
Not to say that gives me reason to have a bias against Marvel. As a fan of the genre and one who lived through bargain budget movies based on these characters, I’m all too happy to enjoy this renaissance period.
Some may still feel otherwise especially with the all too recent critical drubbing dished to DC’s first big foray into establishing their own cinematic universe. My review for “Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice” doesn’t exist but if it did I assure you I’d join the village mob in burning an effigy of Zack Snyder.
Still you may feel I’m biased because my review does not keep in line with popular opinion. After all if a movie sits at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and has a score of 83 on Metacritic then anyone who disagrees has to be biased or possess incredible poor taste, right?
Try as one may to differentiate the two products there’s no denying they share striking similarities. How could they not? The studios each have something to proof. WB/DC being the new (old) kids on the block while Marvel wanting to prove who does it right and who does it best.
Behind the scenes maneuvering on both movies could one day make for a very gripping dramedy. With DC throwing down their gauntlet by staking claim on the first weekend of summer as their release date, a date traditionally reserved by Marvel. Not to be taken lightly Marvel soon announced Iron Man would be participating in this Civil War and not in some blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. That was enough to make their competition retreat to a less daunting March release. Even the directing duo behind Captain America’s second sequel admit the competition inspired their choice of story.
Heroes with differing ideologies going toe-to-toe forms the crux of both stories. The difference is how the stories are told and right now nobody champions Marvel in this area.
“Grim and dark” is a term often mentioned when one describes WB/DC movies. Honestly it baffles me why. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is attributed with this but were those movies really that? For me they tried to portray as realistically as possible a world where a man dressed as a giant bat battles crime. Those movies, for the most part, toed the fine line between being serious in tone while never being tongue-in-cheek.
The Russo Brothers, a bit overconfident behind-the-camera after their successful stint on “Captain America: Winter Soldier”, achieve the same. They know and understand both their product and consumers. Inter spread doses of action and humour pad this so it never feels hollow and dull (Note to Mr Snyder). When in reality it is both those things.
Larger than life spectacle act as a clever distraction from the fact that not much of a story exists. Being a spoiler-free review I won’t get into specifics yet but much of what little plot there is is either to setup action scenes to pad the running time or introducing characters we could’ve done without.
Sounds familiar, right?
Again the only difference is Marvel is an old hand at this game. Whereas the other Justice League members were introduced in unintentionally hilarious scenes, each new member of the Marvel universe here gets their time in the sun. That isn’t to say they deserved or warrant it. None of them are integral to this story and are there mainly to setup future outings. (Not going to lie though that Spidey introduction scene is just pitch perfect for the character. Can’t wait to see more in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” next year.)
Yes, “Captain America: Civil War” is pretty much The First Avengers “Iron Man 2”.
Captain America: Civil War opens in Malaysia and Singapore on the 27th of April 2016.